One of the most difficult issues people wrestle with, are confused about, and have a history with is what to do about excess weight. This is understandable as body weight is regulated by so many different body systems, organs and brain areas. Getting some sort of focus on the direction you might like to take is a lesson in multi-factorial decision making. This can stagnate your ability to move forward out of the inertia of a sedentary lifestyle, or even make it impossible to decide what to make for breakfast.
One option is to latch on to a popular quotation like, “Never order food in excess of your body weight.” – Emma Bombeck. But as you might guess, that has it’s drawbacks. But then, asking your physician can be problematic because you may get the exact same answer. Recent scientific research has redefined the approach to weight control, but because of pressures from the food industry, insurance and drug companies, or simple disinterest, that information probably won’t trickle down to your doctor for years if not decades.
Understanding weight loss can be complicated but actually losing weight can be very straight forward. That’s where the Ketogenic diet comes in.
So what is the Ketogenic diet? It is an eating pattern that limits carbohydrates to about 50 grams per day and increases saturated fats and protein. The goal of a Ketogenic diet plan is to achieve ketosis, which is a normal metabolic process in which body cells burn fragments of fats called ketones instead of glucose for fuel. To give some perspective, a Starbucks mocha latte has about 60 grams of carbohydrate. You can see that the Ketogenic diet limits carbs but there are great rewards around the corner.
First, your body begins to burn fat instead of sugar—a major upside, and there are other advantages as well. Compared to other weight loss options, the low carb approach decreases cholesterol levels and decreases inflammation. It is particularly good at decreasing blood sugar and this affects conditions like diabetes, obesity, heart disease and peripheral neuropathy. That’s great, but it also turns out that people on the Ketogenic diet spontaneously eat less because the protein and fat leads to better hunger satisfaction. This diet can also increase memory in people at risk for Alzheimer’s, stabilize mood in bipolar disorders and even help some behavioral and social deficits in autism. Research (and my patients) shows that the Ketogenic diet is easily the most effective, healthy approach to rapid weight loss.
To make ketosis work for you, track your carb intake each day and limit them to about 50 grams per day. Increase your protein moderately, and the rest of your calories will come from fat. Your daily percent of calories from fat will be about 70-75%, from protein 20-25% and 5-10% from carbohydrates. Usually you don’t have to count calories because the diet decreases hunger significantly. Increasing your coconut oil intake (medium chain fatty acids) and leucine (an amino acid) can also make it easier to get into the ketogenic state and lose weight.
The most important thing here is to not focus on weight; focus on staying in ketosis (you can measure this be using a product called Ketostix). Your brain will begin working much better, your mood will improve and you will be losing weight without the desire for additional food.
This diet can be a huge help, but like most life changes, it would be even better to get the help from a professional who fully understands your special issues and can fully review your lab tests. We have had many patients who have successfully used this approach, and along with the targeted treatment regimes for other issues like fatigue, thyroid problems, sleep disturbance, anxiety, etc, have been able to make significant changes that have given them their lives back.
Dr. Don Davis, D.C., DACNB is a BOARD CERTIFIED CHIROPRACTIC NEUROLOGIST in Walnut Creek. He has been serving individuals with chronic pain for 30 years. For information about how you can get a free consultation with Dr. Davis, call (925) 279-4324 (HEAL) or WalnutCreekThyroidInstitute.com